DUBAI,(Reuters) – Emaar Properties, the Arab world’s largest real estate developer by market value, set up a $4 billion borrowing programme but is unlikely to draw on the debt until market conditions improve.
“The longer term perspective is to have a euro medium term note (EMTN) programme ready so that once the markets open up we can use it,” Chief Financial Officer Amit Jain told Reuters on Tuesday.
“The total programme is $4 billion,” Jain said. “The idea is only to issue $2 billion,” he said, adding the company had opted for both Islamic and conventional notes so it would be easier to access liquidity when it becomes available.
The programme comes at a time when a global credit squeeze has virtually halted lending from international banks to regional banks as they ride out the turmoil spreading from U.S. financial markets.
Defaults on U.S. home loans and the ensuing credit squeeze have raised funding costs, prompting many Gulf Arab borrowers to delay bond sales as banks became more reluctant to lend.
Emaar sent a prospectus for a $2 billion EMTN programme by one of its units to the UK Listing Authority, the company said earlier on Tuesday in a regulatory statement. It also sent a prospectus for a $2 billion trust certificate program, a second regulatory statement said.
Jain said the programme would be used for future investment in assets such as shopping malls and hotels, but said it did not require immediate financing.
The notes would be listed on the London Stock Exchange, with HSBC and Royal Bank of Scotland acting as lead arrangers..
Emaar’s funding plans follow Islamic lender Dubai Bank and Commercial Bank of Dubai, which in September announced EMTN programmes worth $5 billion and $2 billion.